Local showjumper Katie Meredith has pulled another one out of the bag, stepping up to win the Tru Test South Island Mitavite Young Rider Championship at the NZ National Jumping Championships in Christchurch yesterday.
Meredith is no stranger to success at the championships, but with a star-studded field including Aussie raiders James Arkins on Dreamtime Invader and Kirsty Ansell on Balou, and leading North Islander Logan Massie on Double J Cloud 9 among others, she knew she had her work cut out.
Twelve started over the three-star track designed by visiting Australian course designer John Vallance, with just four progressing to the jump-off. Australian James Arkins and the talented Dreamtime Invader were first out, setting a cracking pace to go clear in 42.49 seconds. Meredith and Rio Madrid came next, jumping and turning on a dime to take the lead just 0.2 seconds faster. Kirsty Ansell on Balou rode a safe round to finish third, while Natasha Brooks on Hairy McLairy tried hard but came unstuck with Brooks falling in the jump-off.
Meredith, 19, was thrilled with the result. “She was awesome. It was a beautiful track. John (Vallance) had done a marvellous job. It wasn’t big but you had to ride it, with lots of related lines.”
This was Meredith’s third Young Rider win of the season with Rio Madrid, and her second of the national young rider title, having won it in 2011 aboard Streetwise.
Earlier in the day Darfield teen Maddison Thompson defeated a smart field to win the Commercial Contract Services KiwiSpan Junior Rider aboard her father’s hunter King John. Sixteen started the competition with just six going through to the jump-off against the clock.
Ohoka’s Olivia Robertson and speed demon Tiki Taane were first out going for gold, but unfortunately came home with four faults thanks to a rail down. Next to go, Australian Georgie Sciciliano and Yalambi’s Soltarella also had four faults. Melanie Weal on Cross Your Heart posted the class’s first clear in a time of 40.86 to go into the lead. With a time to beat, Thompson and King John shaved corners coming home in a smart 38.06. Last to go, Emily Fraser and Kiwi Relic were eliminated in the jump-off for a fall.
Show jumping’s rising stars were also in action yesterday, with Katie McVean and Dunstan Breeze taking the honours in the Andretti Seven-Year-Old Breeding Championship with the only clear round.
The second competitions were also held for the championship classes, leading into tomorrow’s (Sunday) finals. The highlight will be the NZ Community Trust Senior Horse Championship and Fiber Fresh Feeds One Star Championship which are set to go underway around midday.
RESULTS: Tru Test in association with Mitavite South Island NZ Young Rider Championship: Katie Meredith (Ohoka) Rio Madrid 1, James Arkins (Australia) Dreamtime Invader 2, Kirsty Ansell (Australia) Balou 3, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Hairy McLairy 4, Melody Matheson (Hastings) Cheltenham 5, Sarah Beale (Australia) Alpha Centuri 6.
Commercial Contract Services in association with KiwiSpan Junior Rider Championship: Maddison Thompson (Darfield) King John 1, Melanie Weal (Te Awamutu) Cross Your Heart 2, Rose Alfeld (Weedons) Capprera 3, Olivia Robertson (Ohoka) Tiki Taane 4, Georgie Sciciliano (Perth, Western Australia) Yalambi’s Soltarella 5, Emily Fraser (Takapau) Kiwi Relic 6.
Andretti NZ Seven-Year-Old Breeding Championship: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Breeze 1, Kate Taylor (Kurow) Next 2, Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) Supernova NZPH 3, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Banderos C 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Lenarc 5, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Kapattack 6.